BHAWANIPATNA: Sweet corn has brought smile back on the faces of farmers of Kalahandi who mostly depend on traditional paddy and vegetable crops. An experiment that was started by Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) in 2011 is today providing rich dividend to the farmers.
ATMA had introduced sweet corn cultivation in 10 hectares (ha) of land in Bhawanipatna block and the farmers were provided technical know-how and farming inputs. Considering the problems associated with paddy cultivation and procurement, several farmers have already opted for corn farming. The cash crop does not require more manpower and the farmers are getting three crop yields a year.
Sweet corn grown in Kalahandi is much in demand in Visakhapatnam, Raipur and Bhubaneswar. In villages like Raisinghpur, Gananathpur, Kanakpur, Gudialipadar and Ichhapur – all located on the outskirts of Bhawanipatna – the farmers are now growing three crops of sweet corn on 25 acres of land every year. .
The majority of area under corn cultivation is in Raisinghpur village, located along the NH-26.
Anwar Rajak, a farmer of the village, is growing sweet corn on six acres of land – four acres of his own land and two acres on lease. He grew pulses and vegetables before shifting to the cash crop. “If weather is favourable, the yield is more. Moreover, the input cost of sweet corn farming is much less than pulses, paddy and vegetables. After the per acre expense towards seeds, labour, fertiliser and ancillary costs, I make a profit of `75,000 per crop and with three yields in a year, the profit generated is around `2.25 lakh, which is much more than what I made from vegetables,” he said.
Fagun Rana, another villager of Raisinghpur, owns 50 decimals of land where he grows sweet corn. He is also growing sweet corn on 1.5 acre that belongs to his brother as a share cropper. A cluster bore-well in his agricultural land helps him cultivate three crops in a year, which he sells in the Bhawanipatna weekly haat and the local vegetable market. Traders also procure the crop at the rate of ` five per a corncob from his doorstep at times. District Agriculture Officer Ashok Amat said there is scope for growing sweet corn in more areas under dug well and bore-well irrigation systems.